Roman carved stone at Caerwent Basilica

If you visit Caerwent, in southeast Wales, you’ll find many excellent historic ruins. That’s because it was the site of Venta Silurum, an early British Roman city. According to Cadw it was established around 75–80 AD, and Wikipedia states it was built as a market town for the defeated Silures tribe. As with all proper Roman cities, it had a forum and basilica (a building for courts and other public gatherings). And in the ruins of that basilica lies a carved stone that maybe formed part of a Roman column. Obviously that provided an ideal opportunity, during a quick visit, to try out some smartphone photogrammetry to create a digital replica.

The carved stone in the basilica remains at Caerwent.
The carved stone in the basilica remains at Caerwent.

Quick summary of this 3D creation
Overview: A low-polygon 3D model of a Roman carved stone artefact.
Location: Caerwent Roman city, Caerwent, South Wales [map].
Date/era: Roman.
Software used: Kiri Engine, Meshmixer, Blender.
Intended use: Digital only (textured low-polygon).
Download: Sketchfab page (non-commercial license).

The scan was created using the amazing Kiri Engine, by uploading just 60 12 megapixel smartphone images. I chose high quality settings for the texture (to get a 4096×4096 pixel image) and a low quality for the mesh as this project was intended only for digital use. You can view the finished scan on Sketchfab below (click the play button to load the scan and move it around).

The 3D scanned carved stone on Sketchfab.

A number of PC programs were used to make the finished scan. To start off I used Meshmixer to orient and trim the mesh, simply because I find the plane-cutting tool very quick and easy. The texture image was then enhanced in Paint Shop Pro and the mesh decimated, to around 10% of the original vertices, in Blender. You can see the quality of the resulting texture image and mesh below.

The scan texture (left) and decimated mesh (right).
The scan texture (left) and decimated mesh (right).

I think one of the great things about photogrammetry is how it makes it relatively easy to create digital replicas of historic places we visit. So I hope you enjoy this 3D scan of a lovely Welsh Roman artefact 🙂